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Two Sustainable Rental Properties In Melbourne’s Middle Ring

Sustainable Homes

Bardolph Gardens is an outstanding example of adding density to Australia’s suburban housing landscape, in a sustainable, considered manner. 

The owner of two California bungalows with large, underutilised backyards in Melbourne’s Glen Iris engaged Breathe Architecture to subdivide the blocks and design two new and sustainable rental properties, to sit behind the existing residences.

Recognising the original architecture of the area, Breathe Architecture designed two recycled brick homes that contribute to the streetscape and planet, and achieve a minimum 8 star NatHERS rating!

13th May, 2022

Bardolph Gardens by Breathe Architecture is an environmentally-sustainable, well-designed private rental housing project in Melbourne’s Glen Iris.Photo – Tom Ross

Breathe Architecture designed two recycled brick homes that contribute to the streetscape and planet by achieving a minimum 8 star NatHERS rating. Photo – Tom Ross

Creating the most sustainable dwellings possible was important to both Breathe and the client to ensure a low environmental impact and financial benefits for the eventual tenants. Photo – Tom Ross

The form and pitch of the roof planes takes cues from neighbouring houses. Photo – Tom Ross.

Both homes contain three bedrooms, one study, and two-and-a-half bathrooms. Photo – Tom Ross

Although identical in brief (each containing three bedrooms, one study, and two-and-a-half bathrooms) the layouts of the homes differ slightly to optimise their outdoor connections. Photo – Tom Ross

Materials include recycled bricks on the exterior, timber bench tops, and timber decking. Photo – Tom Ross

Amelia Barnes
Friday 13th May 2022

‘Designing with sustainability at the forefront of every design decision is critical and needs to happen now if we are to avoid climate catastrophe.’

The owner of two California bungalows on a corner block in Melbourne’s Glen Iris saw an opportunity to better utilise his property’s generous backyards. Rather than sell the excess land, or create an overly dense townhouse development, the owner called in Breathe Architecture to design two sustainable brick homes as future rental properties. 

Creating the most sustainable dwellings possible was important to both Breathe and the client, to ensure minimal environmental impact and financial benefits for the eventual tenants. 

‘We know that the construction industry is responsible for nearly 40 per cent of carbon emissions. Designing with sustainability at the forefront of every design decision is critical and needs to happen now if we are to avoid climate catastrophe,’ says Madeline Sewall, director of houses at Breathe Architecture.

Both of these new homes operate without fossil fuel services, instead relying on solar and electric energy, and have a heat pump system that supplies hot water. Rainwater is collected and stored on site and plumbed back into toilets and garden taps for reuse.

Recycled materials were likewise carefully chosen for sustainability, including bricks on the exterior (in keeping with the existing neighbourhood character), timber bench tops, and timber decking. The pared back yet robust interior palette includes terrazzo tiles and concrete floors, adding thermal mass that also contributes to the project’s 8 star NatHERS rating.

Although identical in brief (each containing three bedrooms, one study, and two-and-a-half bathrooms), each home’s layout differs slightly to optimise outdoor connections. A series of ‘hit and miss’ brick screens are interspersed throughout, creating small courtyards that draw in air and dappled light. 

Breathe Architecture pride themselves on designing homes that are inherently sustainable, without compromising on design outcomes. ‘Sustainable architecture can often be more imaginative, as it is constantly questioning the status quo and innovating to deliver outcomes that make a positive impact on humanity and the planet,’ says Madeline.

Indeed, Bardolph Gardens is all this and more, achieving positive outcomes for the clients, tenants, and the environment. 

This story is part of our Sustainable Homes series, brought to you in partnership with Bank Australia.

Bank Australia’s Clean Energy Home Loan offers a discounted home loan rate if you buy or build a home that exceeds a 7 star NatHERS rating, or have made ambitious green upgrades in the last 12 months. Learn more about the Clean Energy Home Loan

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net